Flu vaccination ‘a social responsibility’

Gary Finnegan

Gary Finnegan

September 2nd, 2013

Gary Finnegan

‘Why do we have the annual flu vaccine? The obvious answer is to protect ourselves from becoming ill. But, according to a new US survey, around 59% say flu vaccination is a “social responsibility” which helps to protect our families and communities.’

Flu-vaccination-a-social-responsibilityThe research, conducted by the CVS/pharmacy chain, found that the late surge in flu cases seen in the US last flu season has made around 46% of respondents more likely to have the vaccine this winter.

But significantly more people will have the vaccine for the greater good. So, perhaps surprisingly, we are left to conclude that the idea of herd immunity may be beginning to sink in with the general public.

A separate study by the RAND Corporation published in the July edition of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people were more likely to be vaccinated if they knew that their peers had already done so.

This finding suggests people are not inclined to take advantage of herd immunity by becoming ‘free riders’ who are protected because most of the people around them have been immunised.

We are more likely to say “Because my friends had the vaccine I will too”, than to say “Because my friends had the vaccine I won’t bother”.

Access and availability

Almost half (47%) of the 2,000 adults surveyed as part of the CVS/pharmacy said convenience was a major driver of their decision about whether to have the flu shot.

In the US, retail pharmacies provide the flu vaccine but in Europe the picture is mixed. While European pharmacy groups say they are keen to play a bigger role in the annual flu immunisation drive, only a handful of countries (notably Portugal, Ireland and the UK) have given pharmacists a hands-on role in administering the vaccine.

Where do you get your annual flu vaccine?